Polymer microarrays for microbial high-content screening
Research on the interactions between microbes and polymeric materials constitutes an important part in antimicrobial identification and provides an insight into microbial response on the polymer surfaces. Herein, a high-content screening method with polymer microarray technology was developed to investigate microbe-polymer interactions, especially in studying adhesion/repellence of microbes (bacteria and parasites). Firstly, the polymer microarray approach was used to successfully identify polymers which either selectively captured or prevented the binding of major food-borne pathogen, Salmonella Typhimurium. A parallel study with a lab strain of Escherichia coli was also carried out, revealing polymers which either displayed a common binding activity or which exhibited species discrimination. Likewise, this polymer microarray technology was applied to more bacterial strains, such as Campylobacter, Clostridium, Streptococcus, Klebsiella and their cocktails to discover families of substrates that displayed strong broad-spectrum bacterial non-binding activity. These synthetic polymers represented a novel class of coating materials which can be used to prevent surface colonisation and subsequent formation of bacterial biofilms. The study of protozoan-polymer interactions was also explored in this thesis. Polymers were identified which either bound or prevented parasites (Crysporidium parvum and Giardia lamblia) binding. Material properties, including wettability, surface roughness and polymer composition were analysed to study correlation of parasite binding and the generation of polymer structure function relationships.